Egyptian Meko contract blocked


Egypt’s planned purchase of four Meko A200 corvettes from Germany’s Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has been blocked after Germany halted defence exports to Saudi Arabia, which was to fund the Egyptian vessels.

France’s La Tribune this week reported that the contract between Egypt and TKMS was signed in mid-September and was initially for two Meko corvettes, but was later expanded to cover three manufactured in Germany and one manufactured in Egypt.

The deal was apparently scuppered as Saudi Arabia was financing the majority of the contract. In late October, Germany halted the approval of future arms deals to Saudi Arabia after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey.

German chancellor Angela Merkel on 22 October said “I agree with all those who say that the, albeit already limited, arms exports can’t take place in the current circumstances.” A few days later she said that no weapons will be delivered to Saudi Arabia until the circumstances of the Khashoggi affair become clear.

The Egyptian Mekos would have been likely configured similarly to those in service with the Algerian Navy, with RBS 15 surface-to-surface missiles and Umkhonto surface-to-air missiles.

Egypt had earlier expressed interest in acquiring further Gowind corvettes from France’s Naval Group but decided against this due to cost concerns. In 2014 Egypt ordered four Gowind 2500 corvettes for around 1 billion euros, with one, El Fateh (971) built in Lorient and the other three being built in Egypt. El Fateh was delivered to Egypt in October 2017. The contract made provision for an option for two more.